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Preview: Africa Unchained

Emergent Africa

Inspired by George Ayittey's book 'Africa Unchained'.

Updated: 2018-01-21T06:00:39.475-05:00


An Alternate View - Reimagine, Don't Seize, the Means of Production


Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel write:
One of the most difficult systems to reimagine is global manufacturing. If we are producing offshore and at scale, ravaging the planet for short-term profits, what are the available alternatives? A movement combining digital and physical production points toward a new possibility: Produce within our communities, democratically and with respect for nature and its carrying capacity...[more]

Design Indaba's Emerging Creatives


From Design Indaba:
The Emerging Creatives Programme presented by Design Indaba and the Department of Arts and Culture provides support, education and mentoring for South Africa's future designers. width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen>

Francophonie operates as a form of colonial control - Alain Mabanckou


Siddhartha Mitter writing for Quartz:
In his speech to “Africa’s youth” in Ouagadougou, last November, France’s president Emmanuel Macron made a big deal of his plans to promote the French language around the world, with advice from African thinkers and others. Two weeks later, he invited Alain Mabanckou—the celebrated Congolese novelist and essayist—to take part.

But Mabanckou—who divides his time between Paris and Los Angeles, where he is a professor at UCLA—said non. In an open letter to Macron that ran on January 15 in the French magazine L’Obs, he rejected the whole venture. The French language is not under threat, he argues. Instead, La Francophonie—the Paris-based organization with 57 member countries, roughly equivalent to the Commonwealth—and other initiatives predicated on shared French language serve France’s political interests and those of African repressive elites...[more]

Fabiola Jean Louis - Fine Artist and Photographer


image via
Haitian-born fine artist Fabiola Jean Louis has received critical acclaim for her exquisite 18th Century-inspired life-sized dresses sculpted entirely of paper. Through art photography that is at once haunting, moody and magical, she reimagines the paper dresses as portraits that rewrite the history of women of color, juxtaposing their past circumstances of subservience with sovereignty, while simultaneously exposing that which often goes unseen

To transform agricultural extension, give youth a voice


GFAR reports:
At the recent Africa Agriculture Extension week in Durban, there was a common refrain: “Demand for food in Africa is growing and expected to double by 2050.” This is why we see continued growth and employment opportunities in the agricultural value chain and why agriculture extension—or training– is more important than ever...[more]

"The Other News," Nigeria's first prime-time political-satire show


Adrian Chen reports the New Yorker covered earlier:
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One day last July, the five writers of “The Other News,” Nigeria’s first prime-time political-satire show, sat in an office in Lagos, trying to figure out how to make fun of a king. The Ooni of Ife, the traditional ruler of the Yoruba people, had recently made headlines for an incident that occurred on a flight to Ontario. As the Ooni’s entourage boarded, one of his aides, dressed in a flowing white robe, blessed the plane by rattling a couple of shakers above his head. A passenger caught the rite on his phone and posted a video to YouTube, where it quickly went viral. The writers were working on the pilot episode of the show and hoped to begin with a few jokes about recent news items; the clip, some of them thought, would make perfect fodder...[more]

Emerging economies might be deindustrializing too quickly


A post from WEF

West African Dwarf Cattle


An alternative that's become endangered:
(image) These are the humpless dwarf "shorthorns" (nothing to do with the UK Shorthorn breed) - also called "muturu". Getting scarce in Nigeria and the neighbouring countries where they used to be the favoured cattle until humped zebu breeds arrived. WAD cattle are trypanotolerant but the zebu breeds are much more highly favoured by farmers and the market. I suppose the future for the muturu is bleak. So far as trypanotolerance is concerned it is the Ndama that is favoured.

Land Deals in Africa: Pioneers and Speculators


From 2012 but still relevant. In the Journal of Globalization and Development:
Much African land currently has low productivity and has attracted investors leasing land as a speculative option on higher future prices or productivity. To be beneficial land deals need to induce productivity enhancing investments. Some of these will be publicly provided (infrastructure, agronomic knowledge), and some can only be provided by ‘pioneer’ investors who discover what works and create demonstration effects. Such pioneers can be rewarded for the positive externalities they create by being granted options on large areas of land. However, pioneers must be separated from speculators by screening and by requirements to work a fraction of the land...[more]

Kenyans spar online over ‘dead capital’ homes...An issue for #Nigeria as well


Leopold Obi writing in the Nation about a subject that is equally relevant in southeastern Nigeria

Quilombo Palmares - A story of Brazilian resistance


A Black Women of Brazil post highlights ‘Angola Janga – A history of Palmares’ a graphic novel:
The story of the largest quilombo in Brazil is now in the comic strip in Angola Janga – Uma história de Palmares, by the hands of Marcelo D’Salete

By Carol Ito

A graphic novel Angola Janga – Uma história de Palmares (Angola Janga – A history of Palmares) has 432 pages and was based on research done by comic strip designer Marcelo D’Salete for 11 years. He investigated records about the quilombo, its main characters and strategies of resistance to slavery in the colonial period. The book was released in November by publisher Veneta and is expected to be released in Portugal and France in the next semester.
More here

How to put the power of law in people's hands - Vivek Maru #TEDGlobal


Vivek Maru at TED Global 2017:
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C.J. Obasi on adapting Nnedi Okorafor's Afrofuturistic


From Shadow & Act:
Award-winning Nigerian filmmaker C.J. Obasi's follow-up to his critically-acclaimed guerrilla debut feature, Ojuju, and sophomore effort O-Town (both covered on Shadow and Act), is an Afrofuturistic short film based on award-winning author Nnedi Okorafor‘s 2011 short story Hello, Moto.

Titled Hello, Rain, the Fiery Film presentation, in association with Igodo Films and Matanya Films, follows a woman who discovers witchcraft in science, and science in witchcraft, when she creates wigs for her friends that give them supernatural powers. The story tackles individual and societal identity, and the role wigs play in them, in a tale that unfolds via a blend of witchery and technology...[more]

The Curve of Time - An Interview with Olu Oguibe


image via
Olu Oguibe’s career spans nearly 30 years. An artist with a penetrative vision and a scholar of superlative merit, Oguibe has been an important figure in the field of contemporary African art. Since the 1990s, together with colleagues such as Okwui Enwezor, Salah Hassan, and Chika Okeke-Agulu, he has helped shape its outline and reception. Having emerged under the shadow of military dictatorship and the neoliberal structural adjustment in Nigeria in the mid-1980s, Oguibe has retained a life-long commitment to art that speaks boldly and eloquently in times of distress, uncertainty, and social turmoil without compromising, as he puts it, “the pleasure of form and the challenges of craft.” On the heels of winning the Documenta 14 Arnold Bode Prize, Oguibe talked to Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi about the curve of his artistic career.
More here

What lessons on fascism can we learn from Africa’s colonial past?


Leslie James writing in Africa is a Country

Learning to Love Lagos


Barclay Bram writing in Roads & Kingdoms:
The Oriental Hotel, a skyscraper with the vague styling of a pagoda on the roof, looms large from the nose-to-bumper traffic on the Island-Lekki expressway, the carotid artery that connects the affluent Victoria Island with the new and rapidly developing free-trade zone of Lekki. An international five-star hotel, with a swimming pool, large conference centers, and a couple of hundred rooms, it is an imposing monument to the Chinese presence in Lagos, Africa’s largest city...[more]

Kingsley Moghalu speaks to Nigerian Voters #Nigeria


Bringing out the vote from Kingsley Moghalu:
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' #Lagos is a City That is Never Silent' - Emeka Ogboh


From Tate Shots:
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Why African board games should be introduced into the classroom


Rebecca Y. Bayeck writes:
...a growing number of researchers around the world are making the connection between playing and learning, the learning potential of African board games remains severely under-explored. My research – which focuses on mechanics, rules and context – suggests that the creative use of these games could play an important role in formal education.
More here

Inside Africa's thriving art scene -Touria El Glaoui at #TEDGlobal 2017


From TED:
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Art curator Touria El Glaoui is on a mission to showcase vital new art from African nations and the diaspora. She shares beautiful, inspiring, thrilling contemporary art that tells powerful stories of African identity and history -- including works by Senegalese photographer Omar Victor Diop, Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj and Zimbabwean painter Kudzanai-Violet Hwami. "It is really through art that we can regain our sense of agency and empowerment," El Glaoui says. "It is through art that we can really tell our own story."

From Extraction to Final Product: Following the Artisanal Gold Production Network in the Eastern DR Congo #DRC


From Wildlife Messengers:
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo tens of thousands of rural families have experienced a long-term decline in their on-farm subsistence capacity due to government policy, war and demographic pressures. After agriculture, artisanal mining is now the second most important livelihood in the eastern DRC despite the inherent dangers of the work.
Between 2013 and 2015, the International Peace Information Service (IPIS) visited 1,615 artisanal mines across the region, recording the presence of 239,700 miners. Around 80 percent of these miners were working in gold mines, and around two-thirds were working in mines affected by the presence of the national army or a non-state armed group. Often, armed groups levy a tax or demand tribute in return for ‘protection’.
While much attention has been paid in recent years to the links between artisanal mining and conflict in the eastern DRC, less is known about the labour and production process itself. This photo story documents the process, following Congolese gold from its extraction at a rural artisanal gold mine in South Kivu Province, through processing and trade, to its transformation into a final product in the provincial capital, Bukavu...[more]

Thiaroye: A French Massacre in Senegal


A post over at African Heritage:
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The “Anglophone crisis”: A tale of the Cameroonian postcolony


Marie-Emmanuelle Pommerolle Hans De Marie Heungoup writing for African Affairs:
Since October 2016, the North West and South West regions of Cameroon have been brought to a standstill by strikes and protests. First led by lawyers and teachers defending the special status of law and education in these English-speaking or anglophone regions, the protests spread to the entire population. Following calls for ghost towns (villes mortes), entire towns, cities, and villages in the anglophone regions came to a standstill as schools were closed, banks and shops were not opened, and even taxis were not operating. The most drastic reaction of the government, cutting down access to internet in the two concerned regions from January to April 2017, received attention all over the world. While both sides have walked out of negotiations, the government has reacted through repressive measures. Federalism...[more]

The secret power of Igbo’s (Igbocorp Inc) - Ola Brown (Orekunrin) @NaijaFlyingDr #nigeria


Ola Brown (Orekunrin) writes:
One of Nigeria’s greatest assets is our diversity. But unfortunately, in the years since our independence in 1960 we have completely failed to exploit this diversity to our advantage. Instead, we have quibbled and fought concentrating on the few things that drive us apart instead of the many things that draw us together...[more]